Pepper Cheese Choux Pastry

Choux Pastry is a light and sort of crunchy pastry that is used in ├ęclairs and other stuffed goodies.They are French in origin and are as elegant as French people themselves!

My first brush with this pastry was long back, during my school days..those days when I used to teach junior kids in our neighborhood. My father had got me the membership at British library back in St.Marks road, Bangalore. I used to get a lot of good books and ,magazines, amongst them included 'Good House Keeping' and one more ladies magazine that sounded like house-keeping and women..can't exactly remember the title.So that was my introduction to continental fare, French and Italian cuisines fascinated me and my pasta and pastry disaster started from there!!(I have remained an ardent fan of Italian food and French deserts ever since.. more so after tasting the real good stuff)

This particular recipe was that of a Choux pastry with custard filling that was designed like a duck, the regular Choux pastry shell with a sort of curved long 'S' acting as the neck of the duck. I liked the presentation so much and I had to try. Bingo, I start of. I was so excited at the end of the whole process. Everything looked under control. The pastry went into the oven and the temperature was perfect we did not have power disruptions either.I was happy, peeking into the oven every minute or so. So finally the time was up and I remove the baking sheet. The end result did not quite look like what it did on the photograph in the magazine. I still went ahead. The custard was already prepared and cooled. So i had to spoon in the custard on the pastry shells. I did it. Just that the pastry shells had collapsed and there was nothing much to eat as much to drink!! I had made a whole big batch of gooey semi-solid stuff . My mom was already annoyed that i was wasting precious butter and eggs on something inedible.I had to make sure each one of the piece (i don't know what to call them) were sold off! So i resorted to bullying. I had my students at hand. It was plain and simple. Eat the thing or sit down for an additional hour of Mathematics! poor things!! that was no option. They sat down to eat. It was a sight. One particular little fellow (aged about 8-9 then now into engineering) was coxing the other to eat fast so that he would not have to eat the next one!!Indeed he remained apprehensive of eating anything I prepared after that.It is funny. We still are in touch those students and me, I wonder what his response would be if he ever saw the real one! My sister keeps reminding me about this incident!I should ask her to see today's end result, so as to get a point of reference as how bad the other one was..

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Generally Choux Pastry is has fillings and is sweet. I was craving for something savory so, did some alterations to meet my cravings. Sticking to measurements I guess is very important in this recipe. Believe me I know what good ones can be as well as the bad ones ;)

Flour 1 cup
Butter 1 stick
Milk 1 cup
Eggs 4
Salt to taste
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Parmesan Cheese 1/4 cup (increase it if you like it richer and cheesier)

Method:
  • In a sauce pan, combine the milk and butter and simmer.
  • Once the butter is all melted, add the salt and pepper, mix well.
  • Dunk in the flour and mix it well. (Much like Ragi mudde) Keep mixing till the mixture comes together into a big ball and the flour stops smelling raw. Take it off fire and cool
  • Once the flour mixture is cool, add the eggs and the cheese, stir vigorously to mix well into a smooth batter. The batter will be pretty thin, slightly thicker than a cake batter.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. It this stage, you can either spoon in the batter into small dollops or take it in a piping bag and pipe it into desired design. I did a few with the piping bag the rest, just dollops using a spoon.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes. (My oven took about 20 minutes) Keep a close eye on yours. It should be golden brown and puffed up. Serve hot with tea or coffee.

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